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Emergency steps on Chinese GM

Date Published: 10/04/2008

The Food Standards Agency has announced emergency measures to deal with the threat of GM rice, known as ‘Bt63′, from China creeping into the UK.

A long list of rice and rice products coming into the country will have to be certified free of Bt63 GM contamination because it is an unauthorised GMO in the EU.

The FSA has notified local authorities who will be responsible for liaising with businesses in their respective areas that might be importing or selling contaminated products.

It’s good to see positive and decisive(ish) steps being taken, but from OF&Gs’ point of view, we fear this is just the tip of a pretty worrying iceberg. As more GM products are shipped around the world (and there are many of them now) it gets harder to avoid contamination of organic and non-GM products, no matter whether it’s accidental (or adventitious) contamination.

If this happens supplies of organic and non-GM products are going to be even thinner on the ground than they are now – putting even greater pressure on prices for animal feeds and milling grade cereals. Perhaps the Bt63 scenario will re-open the public’s eyes to the Frankenstein Foods debate…